Jun 09, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Lost in the whirlwind of the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team’s total domination of the Section III Class C ranks, its 20-0 record and no. 2 state Class C ranking, was a small, nagging concern that, at first, didn’t require an answer.
In none of those previous 20 games did an opponent get the tempo slowed down to where it wanted without surrendering an insurmountable advantage to the Lakers. And in none of those games was Skaneateles put in a position where, deep into the fourth quarter, it would have to rally to pull out a victory.
Faced with both of these realities for the first time in 2010 in last Tuesday night’s Class C regional final at Union-Endicott High School, the Lakers saw its state title dreams crash down in a bitter 7-6 defeat to Section IV champion Corning East.
The circumstances were surreal long before both teams took the field. Despite its long-time reputation as a state and regional power, Corning East is in the midst of its last season before merging with crosstown rival Corning West for the 2010-2011 school year.
In the meantime, the Trojans were not expected to keep up with Skaneateles. Knowing those limitations, Corning East resolved to hang in early, then try to slow things down.
Which is exactly what happened. A 1-1 first quarter sharply contrasted all of the early scoring blitzes the Lakers had made routine throughout the spring.
Then the Trojans bolted ahead, 3-1, early in the second quarter as Joe Martuscello and Ben Dunlavey scored less than three minutes apart. Fighting back from a rare deficit, the Lakers saw Kevin Rice and Mike Richards convert to make it 3-3 going into the break.
If any team had stayed close to Skaneateles earlier in the season, by the third quarter the relentless pace set by the Lakers’ pair of midfield lines would cause things to get away.
Corning East didn’t let that happen, winning early face-offs and patiently working around the ball, not letting Skaneateles clear it out — and turning those possessions into key goals by Dunlavey and Dylan Grimaldi to reclaim a 5-3 lead.
Now the chase began. Twice, Skaneateles would close within one goal, at 5-4 and 6-5. Both times, the Trojans would respond with goals, using up valuable minutes of time in the process.
Thus, it was 7-5 when, late in regulation, the Lakers went all-out to try and save itself. A series of great shots got turned away as Corning East goalie Tyler White had five of his 15 saves in the fourth quarter, and though Skaneateles again closed within one, it could not force overtime.
Paul O’Donnell joined Rice in the two-goal column, adding an assist as Richards and Kelly Donigan each got a goal and two assists.
Skaneateles could mask some of the disappointment by knowing that many top players, including Rice, O’Donnell, Richards, Rory Callahan, Trevor Diamond and Zach Brownlee come back in 2011. But the losses of stars like Donigan, Cal Winkelman, Tom Schoener, Kyle McQuiggan and Dylan Ross will make the task more difficult.